The Rapidian

Southtown neighbors in need of more public spaces, design charrette for Madison Park to come

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

[VIDEO MAP] Southtown news bureau particpants highlight lack of public space within Southtown, Madison Park charrette to take place soon.
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About the video map

In the first Southtown news bureau training, Southtown reporters asked one another what their favorite places to hang out in the neighborhood are. The short clips demonstrate a range of memories and, from local businesses and nonprofits to public spaces.


  • Blue shading - Southtown boundaries
  • Pink pin - Public space
  • Red pin - Local business
  • Yellow pin - Local nonprofit
  • Aqua pin - Activity

View Southtown reporters: Where do you hang out in Southtown? in a larger map


When many Grand Rapidians think of their favorite local spots to gather, the first answers do not usually include places in Southown or Madison Square. There is no doubt that there is a signicant lack of common space within our community. 

During the first gathering of the Southeast Neighborhood News Bureau, participants were asked "where they hang out in Southtown." Some of the responses included local nonprofits, businesses and parks. Check out the map below to see the video responses tagged to each favorite spot. 

In their interviews, the reporters show that there are few public spaces in the Southtown boundaries to hang out. Central to a healthy neighborhood is a park. Our friends at Walkable Communities state, "within healthy commuitities, there are many places for people to assemble, play, and associate with others within their neighborhood. The best neighborhoods have welcoming public space within 1/8th mile (700 feet) of all homes. These spaces are easily accessed by all people."

In an effort to increase the amount of common space in our community, LINC is partnering with the City of Grand Rapids, OCBA and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks to develop the area between Madison Ave, Adams and Gilbert Streets into a neighborhood park. To ensure that this is truly a "neighborhood" park, we are relying on the voice of the community to drive the development of the park space. Community stakeholders and representatives for Madison Square businesses, nonprofits, churches, and neighborhood associations have gathered a number of times to guide the planning process.

Soon all neighbors and community members will be invited to take part in a park design charrette, where they will have a chance to talk with the architects about the park design, suggest key elements to be incorporated into the park and vote on a park name.

Stay tuned for the date, time and place!

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